Simon Bisson (sbisson) wrote,
Simon Bisson

Coding is fun again

It you've got an Xbox 360 and 400 Microsoft points (about £3.40), then run, don't walk, to the Community Channel and download Kodu.

Learning to program has never been so much fun - and the simple graphical programming environment lets kids of all ages build their own apps. I was programming seconds after downloading the code, and there's a whole world of functionality I've yet to explore

To be blunt: Kodu just rocks. It's educational programming done right for today's console generation. This is their BBC Micro.

Here's why:

Learning to program used to be easy. Turn on a BBC Micro and you'd be ready to write your first BASIC program, and Sinclair's machines had programming shortcuts printed on their plastic keys. Then there was Logo, with its simple approach that let beginner programmers build more and more complex behaviours for its turtle cursor.

But something went wrong along the way. Good old BASIC vanished, and along with it the fun of programming. It was work now, and that's the way it always would be. Kids would play games on consoles before growing up to write Visual Basic applications in the office. Programming was now officially boring.

A group of researchers at Microsoft Research had a different idea. People had experimented with visual programming techniques before (remember the keypad on the back of BigTrak?), and applications like Microsoft's Robotics Studio were mixing it with declarative programming concepts

Experiments like Popfly had shown there was interest in programming for what Microsoft's Jon Montgomery called the "non-programmer" – the person who puts a Facebook badge or a Yahoo! widget on their web page. However the Microsoft Research work went in a completely different direction, bringing visual programming to the world of gaming.

Read more at TechRadar.

Look - it's got a turtle!

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